More income caused budget change in Pea Ridge


PEA RIDGE — Planning, zoning and budgets consumed the majority of business for the City Council during the last meeting of 2021.

Council members met Dec. 27 in order to amend the previous year’s budget to make plans match reality.

The overwhelming reason for the change in the budgets was that more money was received than anticipated and budgeted, according to City Clerk Sandy Button.

“There were only seven departments that we need to amend,” she said. “In all six, there were a few line items. Our department heads were very good at sticking with their budgets.

“The biggest problem was that we got more money than we thought. We had to adjust and disperse,” she said.

She said there was an additional $833,000 to be received. “It’s not a bad thing,” she said.

One source of revenue, the American Rescue Plan, accounted for $680,000, none of which has been appropriated as Button said city officials are waiting on a decision on how the money can be legally spent.

Button said the additional revenue was more sales tax revenue from the old one-cent city sales tax than anticipated. She said revenue from impact fees was also more than budgeted.

“It doesn’t mean we spent it,” said Starla Billington, city bookkeeper. “We just have to raise the amount in the books to match the income.”

Speaking to City Council member Merrill White, Mayor Jackie Crabtree said, “Merrill, everything you know about a business budget, forget it. It’s not a city budget.”

City attorney Shane Perry explained that the budget has to accurately reflect the money that exists.

In addition to amending the 2021 budget, city officials approved a 6% cost of living adjustment for all city employees.

Crabtree said the U.S. Social Security Administration allowed a 5.9% cost of living adjustment this year.

“During budget talks, we were talking 6%. For the job our people have done, that’s about half what they need,” he said.

Button said the cost of medical insurance increased, too, so the raise would just about cover that cost.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the appointment of Perry as city attorney and Jay Williams as city prosecutor.

• Approved vacating a right of way at 1351 N. Davis St.

• Accepted the low bid for the Hazelton Road improvement project — it was from ARCO Excavation and Paving for $1,244,301.53.

• Approved an ordinance authorizing compensation for City Council members for Committee of the Whole meetings, for which they previously did not get paid.

• Approved an ordinance amending the city zoning code and changing the waiting period for a reapplication for a zoning request after it has been denied by the Planning Commission.

• Approved rezone requests for property on Hazelton Road from agricultural to residential and for 4.71 acres northwest of Hayden Road and Pickens Road from agricultural to residential.

• Approved the final plat for Marilyn’s Orchard Phase II.



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